“I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied.”
Julia Margaret Cameron
With an incredible ease, balance, and attention to detail, which apparently looks like a coincidence, Ines Kotarac creates monumental records of the human body.
In her expression she succeeds to create a modest picture of a naked body through a virtuosic rhythm of shadows and geometric forms within the compositions – with all the strengths and weaknesses of the moment. Her photographs are powerful moments, markers of her models’ hidden facial expressions and emotions.
Compositions form a whole which can not be easily parsed. Space and body coalesce into an unbreakable relationship in which one would no longer function without the other, where the space objectifies the body and merges it with itself, while on the other hand the presence of the body creates an enigmatic atmosphere that revives furniture, empty buildings, balconies, walls – we can say that the beauty of the body captured by Kotarac’s lens transforms the environment and gives it life and a mysterious, dreamy, untold story. At each re-examination of the photos, the observer finds new details, a hidden smile, a faraway look, playful shadows, or a curved line of the body, which re-stimulates the imagination and gives us the will to give infinite interpretations.
The choice of space and equipment subtly talks about taboos and emotions which the artist is facing and resolving on a subconscious level. Every body is a process of self-realization and discovery, with surprising maturity levels on which the artist approaches her own emotions, but also the photographic problems which are very consciously and deliberately chosen and analyzed.
The photographer perceives the model as a muse. On one side, she transforms her into a supernatural heroine who stands colossally in open space and radiates incredible strength and self-assurance, whereas in the intimate atmosphere of closed spaces, she almost observes her as a voyeur catching her fragility and sensuality. The series of photographs of Lucija reveals the constant transformation of erotic charge into creative outbursts charged with a range of emotions from awe to physical desire.
The male model, the only one in the cycle, is shown by the artist as an ethereal being, dreamy and made of porcelain. She acknowledges his sexual power, idealizes it, but does not communicate with it more intensely. His pale, pure and undefiled skin is being instilled between obstacles, like being put into u showcase. Kotarac gives the body the monumentality and statics of the antique sculptures of young men – idealized by proportions and looks, but intended only for admiring and worship.
Kotarac places her model in a closed semi-dark space – as if she were to hide, or wash away, her discomfort about the potential touch, or about a hidden and a socially unacceptable fear. Almost therapeutically, both for herself and the model, she shows the full beauty, playfulness, tenderness and eroticism of Taja’s body. With this experience she moves her boundaries and frees herself from univocal view of beauty and sex appeal, created by the consumerist society with its unrealistic ideals concerning the beauty of the female body. She transforms Taja into a theatrical baroque goddess who dominates the space and the atmosphere around her.
In all of the series, and especially the self-portrait series, the artist strips herself naked, both physically and emotionally. By this act, she acquires the artistic right to expect full exposure from her models in front of her lens and the opportunity to enter into their personal spaces. Through the fragile language of organically blending her body with the surrounding space, and the subtle objectification of herself in comparison to the elements like rocks, exterior areas, or plants, she gives a vision of duplicity of her being – the unbreakable connection to the world, above all the natural world around her and a self-willed isolation in which she creates new worlds, independent from external influences.
(text: Josip Horvat)